Two New Programs to Provide Cost Share for Landowners in the Central Platte Natural Resources District

Two New Programs to Provide Cost Share for Landowners in the Central Platte Natural Resources District


(GRAND ISLAND, NE) June 19th is the deadline to sign up for two new initiatives approved by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. On Thursday, James Huntwork, USDA-NRCS district liaison, reported to the Central Platte NRD board on the signup deadlines and cost share details for the newly acquired funding through both the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) and the Ogallala Aquifer Initiative.

In September 2014, the Central Platte NRD and partners submitted the Ogallala Aquifer and Platte River Recovery Project proposal to NRCS for funding through the RCPP. In January, the Central Platte NRD was notified its proposal had been accepted for funding.

Through this project, over $1.7 million in RCPP funding will be combined with the local partners' financial contribution. These funds will be dedicated to applying more efficient irrigation techniques, installing conservation practices and assisting farmers with converting irrigated acres to non-irrigated farmland. Central Platte NRD is the primary sponsor, but other contributing partners include the Twin Platte NRD, Thirty Mile Irrigation District, Southside Canal Company and the Cozad Ditch Company.

Lyndon Vogt, CPNRD general manager said, "We are fortunate to receive this funding. The RCPP grant will provide funds to allow us to address conservation needs." 
The Ogallala Aquifer Initiative (OAI) will provide $6.5 million in the Ogallala Aquifer region this year to help farmers and ranchers conserve billions of gallons of water and

improve water quality. Funding will be targeted to seven focus areas in five states, including Nebraska to support their primary water source and strengthen rural economies. Nebraska will receive $1.8 million in OAI funding towards the Central Platte, Little Blue and Upper Big Blue Natural Resources Districts (NRDs) to provide conservation assistance.

The CPNRD focus area objectives are to reduce water consumption and related depletions to surface water flows and groundwater withdrawals in critical areas by converting irrigated land to non-irrigated on a permanent or temporary basis. Additionally, surface and groundwater quality and quantity concerns will be addressed with the implementation of improved irrigation system and management technologies to increase irrigation efficiencies, reducing impacts to the Platte River and local groundwater supply.

Producers interested in improving water quality and quantity on their farming operations may apply for RCPP and Ogallala Initiative funding now through June 19, 2015 at their local NRCS office. For more information, visit


-Cease & Desist Update- Luke Zakrzewski, GIS image analyst, reported that Lee and Terry Spradlin completed the necessary paperwork following the Cease & Desist Order issued at the April board of directors meeting and are now in compliance with the CPNRD's Rules and Regulations,
-Eastern Projects- The board approved $25,000 for JEO Engineering to complete design work for the Wood River Flood Control Project's System Wide Improvement Framework. The board also approved $20,000 for maintenance and repairs required by the Corps of Engineers.
-Flood Diversions- Duane Woodward, hydrologist, reported that excess flows started being diverted down the Dawson County canals on May 11, 2015 and will cease diversion on June 1, 2015 for the irrigation season. The Cozad Canal has diverted 1,600 ac/ft, Thirty Mile Canal has diverted 2,900 ac/ft and Orchard Alfalfa has diverted 1,800 ac/ft for a total of 6,000 ac/ft of water diverted so far during the high flow event. The diversion will provide return flows to the Platte River and groundwater recharge.
-Cooperative Hydrology Study- Woodward reported that testing by individual users on the three models found it cumbersome to move the files back and forth because of the different formats. The technical committee is working on an expanded graphical users interface to improve functionality between the models. 
-Cost Share- -Cost Share- The board approved 4 cost share applications for flow meters and well decommissioning in the amount of $2,500.
-Fiscal 2016 Budget- The board will review and take action on the fiscal 2016 budget at the June board meeting for the purpose of holding a public hearing in July.
-Board Orientation- David Carr and Mark Czaplewski gave presentations to the board on their job duties and responsibilities.